Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas has put the call out for more wine professionals, saying there aren’t enough in New Zealand.

"We are probably 20 years behind the rest of the world in embracing what sommeliers can do,” Douglas said. “Restaurateurs also need to step up and start hiring sommeliers and not just food and beverage runners."

Douglas also noted that the role of the sommelier doesn’t quite fit with the New Zealand mentality, which could account for the lack of trained staff. He said that New Zealanders like to make their own decisions and don’t like being fussed over, which leads to an underappreciation of the role of the wine expert.

Douglas is the only New Zealander to have been granted the title of Master Sommelier, which he received in 2007 after five years of study. He currently serves as academic leader of AUT’s wine and beverage courses.